Thursday, April 18   John 13:1-17, 31b-35             Shane Mullin

1 Before the Festival of Passover, Jesus knew that his time had come to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them fully. 2 Jesus and his disciples were sharing the evening meal. The devil had already provoked Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew the Father had given everything into his hands and that he had come from God and was returning to God. 4 So he got up from the table and took off his robes. Picking up a linen towel, he tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he was wearing.6 When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand what I’m doing now, but you will understand later.” 8 “No!” Peter said. “You will never wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t have a place with me.” 9 Simon Peter said, “Lord, not only my feet but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus responded, “Those who have bathed need only to have their feet washed, because they are completely clean. You disciples are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 He knew who would betray him. That’s why he said, “Not every one of you is clean.”

12 After he washed the disciples’ feet, he put on his robes and returned to his place at the table. He said to them, “Do you know what I’ve done for you? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you speak correctly, because I am. 14 If I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you too must wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example: Just as I have done, you also must do. 16 I assure you, servants aren’t greater than their master, nor are those who are sent greater than the one who sent them. 17 Since you know these things, you will be happy if you do them.

31 When Judas was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Human One has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify the Human One in himself and will glorify him immediately. 33 Little children, I’m with you for a little while longer. You will look for me—but, just as I told the Jewish leaders, I also tell you now—‘Where I’m going, you can’t come.’ 34 “I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. 35 This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.”

At this meal with his disciples, Jesus does something that is both powerful and unexpected – he washes their feet. He does this to demonstrate to them the importance of adopting a posture of servanthood towards others. After he washes their feet, he makes clear that he will only continue to be with them for a very short time, and he lets the disciples know that, even in his absence, they will need to remain connected with each another – he commands them to “Love one another.” It’s important to know that Jesus isn’t suggesting this to his disciples, he is commanding them to do it. By offering them this new commandment, Jesus isn’t focusing upon love only as a feeling, but as a conscious decision. Why? Because Jesus knew that those of us who follow him wouldn’t always feel like loving each other. But, a command to love isn’t always easy to obey, and that’s why it’s helpful that he gave us a model for his love through his own life and actions – “Just as I have loved you, so you must also love one another.” Jesus points out that when we, as a community of his disciples, love one another the way that he has loved (sacrificially and freely), our life together becomes powerfully attractive to those who do not follow Jesus. So, as a community of people who are trying to follow Jesus a bit better today than yesterday, let’s follow his command and decide to love one another.

Pray that we will remember that Jesus wants us to love one another, so that others will know that we follow him.